2 dead, 5 seriously injured in Kuwait refinery fire

Fire breaks out during maintenance work at a major oil refinery in Kuwait, killing two workers and seriously injuring five others

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A fire broke out in Kuwait on Friday while maintenance work at a major oil refinery killed two workers and seriously injured five others, the Kuwait National Oil Company said.

This is the second fire at the Mina al-Ahmadi refinery in just three months. In October, the state-owned oil company reported a fire at the plant, with some workers inhaling smoke and others being treated for minor burns.

In the latest fire, two Asian contract workers died, the company said. Their bodies were found at the scene.

The company initially said 10 workers were injured in the fire, with five being treated at a nearby hospital for severe burns and two for moderate burns. Others were treated at an on-site clinic. The company later said five people with severe burns were transferred to another hospital in critical condition.

The company said the fire started at a gas liquefaction unit that was out of service due to maintenance work. It said the fire had been extinguished and operations at the refinery had not been affected as the damaged unit had been taken out of service.

After the fire, Kuwaiti Oil Minister Mohammad Fares and other executives of the state-owned company toured the refinery. They were seen punching members of the fire brigade and standing in front of the blast site for photos, which were shared on KNOC’s Twitter account.

The refinery was built to process 25,000 barrels of oil per day, mainly to supply gasoline and diesel to the Kuwait domestic market. The facility was recently expanded to reduce emissions and increase capacity to 346,000 barrels per day.

Kuwait is a country of 4.1 million people with the world’s sixth largest known oil reserves.